Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sewing Makes Me Happy

When the progeny were younger, when they were crumb crunchers of the first order, sewing kept me sane.

When they went upstairs for naps I went to the basement to sew. Cutting fabric, running my sewing machine, making something just helped me get through the day. I think it is probably genetic because Grandma Amsler was a seamstress as well as knitter. And Mimi sews. And Grandma Pringle sewed.

I should also tell you that the progeny all graduated from a Jr.Hi/High School that endeavored to drown us in tee shirts. Any school group produced a yearly tee shirt. Any fine arts production or singing group had an associated tee shirt. Every year each grade level had a tee shirt. Any gigantic sporting achievement had a tee shirt. Figure a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 tee shirts a year…..that is a lot of tee shirts. And we seemed to buy them all.

When Cartoon Girl went off to college she had a ton of tee shirts from all those Royal Theater productions and so she made herself a tee shirt quilt. Yes, I know, it seems that there is a tee shirt quilt that is made in the movie “Eclipse” that is currently in theaters. We were doing that LONG before the books or the movies.
Defensive much Deb? I think we should get royalties! It was our idea first.

Um Deb? 


Where is this post going? Does it have a point? Does it have a place that you are trying to get to?

Yes. Sheesh you people are so picky and driven.
So, Shoe Queen has A LOT of tee shirts, more than she could wear. And she asked me if I could make her a tee shirt quilt.

You betcha I can! (Channeling my inner Sarah Palin)

IMG_6769 This is the fabric that Shoe Queen picked for the back. Lovely and aquamarine blue.

IMG_6770 LOTS of tee shirts. I believe that in this pile there were around 37 tee shirts.

IMG_6772 My tools. Those scissors have been my fabric cutting scissors for…..hmmmmm…….I think 30+ years. I took a quilting class and convinced Mimi that I absolutely HAD to have good scissors. The rotary cutter, pad and ruler have been used and abused for many a year. There is nothing like a good rotary cutter!

IMG_6776                               BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Tee shirts fear me.

IMG_7190 The first thing that you have to do is figure out what the best general size is that you should cut your tee shirts. For this quilt the squares were cut 12.5 x 12.5 inches so that the final squares would be 12x12 inches taking into account a 1/4 inch seam allowance on all four sides of the squares.

I ended up with 30 pieces of tee shirt that I thought would work. Then it was off to find a piece of open floor to play tee shirt puzzle, moving pieces around until I had them in the order that I liked.

I think that will do it.

Then it was over to the sewing machine to sew them all together. I sewed them into strips 5 tee shirts across. Then I sewed the strips together into two halves. And then I sewed the halves together.

I had already gone to the local thrift store and purchased a piece of blanket for $3 that was just the right “weight” to be the batting or “filling” for the quilt. Thank you to whoever cut the blanket in half and then decided to donate that to the Fabulous Finds.

Now is probably not the time to tell you how much I love Fabulous Finds…..that is for another post I think.

After cutting the blanket batting to fit it was then time to take care of the fabric for the back…..

And that was when I realized that I hadn’t bought enough fabric. In fact I figured that I needed at least another 3 yards. I bought 4 yards the first time around for the love of Pete. But that wasn’t quite enough. So it was off to Jo Ann Fabrics on a Saturday morning to get more fabric. Thank goodness they had some. But that meant that I also had to wash and dry the fabric before I could use it.

And then, as I was sewing along, I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough thread in that particular color….. So it was back to Jo Ann Fabrics AGAIN to get some thread. I should also say that it is about a 15-20 minute drive each way. I wasn’t happy.

IMG_7192 Voila! Ready to tie and then pin the edge.

And then it was, as I was looking at the quilt, that I realized I had sewn one of the strips upside down.


And there was no way on God’s green earth that I was going to take it all apart to repair that. Shoe Queen will just have to tell people that it is all a deliberate part of the quilt. A conversation starter as it were.

IMG_7200A All finished and ready to snuggle with.

Of course it was 94F that day so that will have to wait for a cooler day… October.

I may have to make one of these for myself.


  1. Ugh. Cooking, sewing, knitting, gardening. I want to be you when I grow up!

  2. You have my great admiration...I've made many a quilt but have not ventured into t-shirt quilt territory! This is sooo cool!

  3. What a fantastic idea! My 15 year old has accumulated a ton so far just in her freshmen year! It seems like every other week she comes home with a t-shirt order form, so I know where you're coming from. Right now she wears them all, but I'm looking forward to the day I can cut into them! What if you used the backs of the tees to make the back of the quilt? a plain square back? hmmm..
    I love to sew too! I saw you over on Flat Creek Farm.

  4. @McVal - I think using the backs of the tees for the back of the quilt would work great. I have to say that I incorporated both backs and fronts for this endeavor. I have enough left over to make a large pillow when I have the time.

  5. Wow, what a project. It's one thing to sew, it's another thing to sew a quilt. (As you know) My mom is a tailor and tried to get us into it but I was better friends with the seam ripper than the sewing machine.

  6. Thanks for the step by step instructions, Debbie. I now have a new project in my future. First I have to make old time golf pants for Peter.

  7. Now that is one grand idea!!! :) We have a few t-shirts, but other than for bedtime, we do not wear them. Maybe it will be a good use for "Grandma". I am not pleased when I have to sleep next to her.

    Actually, it was a shirt my husband received at a family reunion several years before we even knew each other. Someone had a picture of Grandma printed on t-shirts honouring the event.


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